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Media to Bolster Women Leadership in Panchayats

“Please give me a cup of tea” this is the first sentence relaxed Anil says to his wife after coming back home completing tiresome day long initiatives in the Panchayat. Anil got elected recently as a ward member of the Panchayat where Anamika a lady from the neighboring ward also got elected. Both of them came back from the Panchayat at the same time but Anil reached home a little early as he came by his motor bike.

Anamika was also dead tired after her daylong work in the Panchayat. Walking home added to her tiredness. Reaching home she finds lots of unwashed dishes in the sink. Whole the family members had their lunch and dumped the dishes as they consider it as the work of the Buwari (daughter in law) in the family only. Terribly tired Anamika dragged herself to clean the dishes first after changing. Prepared tea for everybody in the family including for herself, cleaned the rooms of the house, brought the cloths from the quad which she put for sun after washing in the morning, took care of the children, made them to seat on the study table, helped them to understand the difficult lessons, started preparing the dinner for the family, took care of her husband and in-laws so on and so forth.

This is the social and cultural difference of job description of Anil and Anamika. A male elected representative and a female elected representative of Panchayat. After the 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act more than 9000 Anamikas come in to power to shape the future of the state. Involvement of women on the social and political decision making is the need of the time to secure the future of the human race.

However, the women leaders coming into power by virtue of reservation is facing problem in the family, society, bureaucracy and political party level. The women leaders could bring about a change fulfilling the aspirations of the Constitution, if there is a public support and opinion for the women leadership in the Panchayats.

Media being the master of public opinion building, no effective women leadership could be expected without partnership of media on the issue. Media and judiciary have set examples of being with the democracy in the country when legislation and executives fails to protect it. Hence, North East Social Trust (NEST) along with The Hunger Project, New Delhi is working strategically with the media of the state to strengthen women leadership in the Panchayats. The Hunger Project is also providing Sarojini Naidu Prize every year to the journalists of India highlighting positive stories on Elected Women Representatives of Panchayats.

Ever increasing numbers of newspapers and TV channels have expanded the need of rural journalists in an exponential rate in the state of Assam. However, there is very little opportunity for the new incumbents to the journalism to learn the basics of this profession before joining the print and electronic media. There was a good deal of demand from the rural journalists of Assam to have some level of interaction, if not training, from competent personality in this sector.

In the month of May 2009 three media workshops were organized in Lakhimpur, Jorhat and Golaghat districts of Assam where more than 100 rural journalists participated. Apart from discussing basics of the Panchayati Raj Institutions and women leadership in it, importance of positive reporting, development journalism and status of media in the state was discussed in these workshops.

Nava Thakuria, an independent senior journalist from the region participated in all the 3 workshops as the key facilitator and emphasized on the present Trend of Changes in the Media, Positive Development Journalism, and Role of Media on Building Opinion for Strengthening Women Leadership in the Local Governance etc.

Thakuria suggested the rural journalists to be vigilant and not to mix the literary writing with the journalistic one. He expressed his concern of harming both the sectors of ‘literature’ and ‘news’ due to mixing in the present trend of media in Assam. He also pointed that the ‘Internet Portals are coming up as a very strong viable alternative space for journalists’. When the state media get bias to special political party or a special school of thought and journalists find it difficult to get space for genuine stories, he should go for writing in Portals whose reader base is escalating phenomenally.

Mrinal Talukder, correspondent of UNI for last 17 years from this region, participated in the workshops of Jorhat and Golaghat district as resource person. He expressed his anguish to the rural journalist on the fact that the “Media of Assam is fast losing its relevance”. The ever decreasing credibility of various newspapers and TV channels among the mass people of the state is of major concern to the media as a whole, he added.

He also pointed the gap between the potential and actual readers of newspapers in Assam. “When we have more than 2.5 crore population, the volume of newspaper readers is not more than 5 lakhs”. Hence, newspaper is failing measurably on building any opinion in the true sense at the moment. Are the citizens of the state rejecting what we write or the way we write? Is the kind of negativity existing in the newspaper is the hindrance of increasing the reader base in the state? These are some of the unanswered questions carried by the rural journalist at the end of the workshops.

This story is written by Tasaduk Ariful Hussain, Executive Director of North East Social Trust (NEST). Hussain is working in the field of community development for last 13 years in various parts of India. He is also the founder of NEST, a voluntary organization working for last 7 years in exploring alternative livelihood, strengthening grassroots democracy and elementary education. Hussain completed M. Tech. and carried out scientific research and teaching before coming into the sector of ‘development’.

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BSc pass arrested for appearing HSLC exm

28 Feb 2009 - 4:10am | Jayanta Kumar Das
The arrest of a BSc pass youth named Bhupen Barman of Bagichachuba village under Kalaigaon police station has created sensation in the area and has also posed several questions on the management of the conduction of the HSLC examination.The youth had been appearing the HSLC examination (private) on behalf of another boy named Gopal Modak (Roll BO9-759 No.3074 )in the Kalaigaon Girls High School centre on February 25.The matter would have been unnoticed if not Arun Sarma,president and Jitu Moni Deka ,secretary of Kalaigaon AASU had intervened timely.The AASU leaders immediately brought the matter to the notice of the centre incharge at 10 am.
The OC Kalaigaon police station arrested Bhupen Barman alias Nalini Barman,who latter confessed that he had done the misadventure for Rs.20000.only.Mean while,real candidate Gopal Modak,son of a rich businessman Pradip Modak has been missing (?) till now raising question of a possible deal with investigating police.

BPF launches LS election campaign in Kalaigaon LAC

23 Mar 2009 - 1:44pm | Jayanta Kumar Das
The LS election 2009 has exposed the so called alliance between congress and BPF in the 8 Mangaldai LSC. Both the parties have fielded strong candidates in the constituency creating confusion among people.Congress has fielded Madhab Rajbangshi as its candidate. Rajbangshi had been MP for two terms earlier.On the other hand BPF has fielded Dina Nath Das of Tangla as its candidate.BPF aims to attract non Bodo voters by placing Das. Interestingly BPF has been the first political party to open election offices in BTAD areas.The inauguration of the election office at Kalaigaon by BPF has enhanced the political activities in 65 Kalaigaon LAC. Inaugurating the election office at Kalaigaon on March 22 at 10 am, BPF candidate Dina Nath Das said that he was confident of winning the ensuing LS polls in 8 Mangaldai LAC.He also said that,out of approximately 14 lakhs voters in the constituency, support of nearly 6 lakhs voters belonging to BTAD would determine his victory.

The opening programme was also attended by Maheswar Baro,MLA, Kalaigaon LAC; Jagadish Sarkar,Central secretary BPF and Dandi Rabha,MCLA, BTAD (nominated) beside other party leaders. Speaking on the occasion Jagadish Sarkar said that BPF would also enjoy support of the minority people.According to him their main opponent would be congress,not BJP. Maheswar Baro, MLA,in his speech appealed all the parties to refrain from spreading rumors and not to confuse voters.He also said that BPPF and AUDF would not effect their prospect of winning in any way. He ruled out the possibility of rigging by his party in the LS polls as had been alleged by some parites.According to him the overall development of BTAD areas would ensure their victory.BJP-AGP alliance candidate Ramen Deka has neither been able to visit areas nor open election offices in Darrang and Udalguri districts.Former BJP MP Narayan Barkotoki’s inability to do any developmental works in Mangaldai LSC during last five years would likely to effect his prospect very much besides other factors.AUDF is likely to field Sirajuddin Ahmed,brother of Badaruddin Ajmal in Mangaldai LSC, but religious minority voters unlikely to offer full support to AUDF. BPPF on the other hand has placed former deputy chief of BAC, Pradip Kumar Daimari as its candidate.

Rongali Bihu by Assam Association, Delhi- April 14, 24

13 Apr 2011 - 9:30pm | editor


14th April/Thursday [6 pm onwards]* : Srimanta Sankardeva Bhawan, A 14 B, Satsang Vihar Marg, Opp JNU East Gate, New Delhi 110067


- Egg fight


- Bihu songs by Nabamallika Bhagawati


- Prize money *Bihuwa/Bihuwoti* Competition



* 24th April/Sunday*: Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts [IGNCA], Rajendra Prasad Road, Near Le Meridien Hotel, New Delhi 110001


Programme:


- Childrens' bihu


- Artists: Devanga Pallav Saikia, Mimun Das


- Sattriya by Mridusmita Das


- Bihu [Bihu Group comprised of Assamese Youths in Delhi]


- Guest artist from Axom: Simanta Shekhar[ dikhou noi......]


- Hawain guitar by Bhaskar De


- Mukoli Bihu